Day 68 – weekend cravings

Really craving red wine this weekend :(. It was always my thing to do in the evening, glass of wine, relax, repeat. Yesterday evening, I was really restless, and I couldn’t go for a walk because it was raining. Eventually, I grabbed a bottle of heineken zero and tried to distract myself with a tv series. Then generally I try to sneak off to bed early with a book where I can finally relax.

This evening was no better, I cooked a carbonara, had a couple of AF beers and I felt flat. The kiddies were in good form and we had a good day, so there was no reason for me feeling ‘meh’. My husband opened a bottle of red and I pulled out my laptop in the living room to distract myself with some work. It would be very easy to have a glass, just by reaching over to him and taking a sip out of his glass, and then I would be saying ‘maybe I’ll join you for one’. And that would be that. There’s no denying the initial buzz would be glorious, but that would be followed by sadness, fear, anxiety, feelings of failure and self-loathing. I had already done yoga and a walk earlier in the day.

The tv was on in the background with a programme about the reopening of the The Savoy in London, glasses of champagne were being poured by dapper looking waiters. Enough was enough. I rang my husband in the next room and jokingly asked him to bring me in a glass of AF bubbly in the manner of a Savoy waiter, and he did – bubbly in a champagne with a pillowcase ( aka a napkin), folded neatly over his forearm. LOL 🙂

With a glass of AF bubbly and writing here, the craving is lessening. As soon as the kids are in bed, I am also planning on having a bowl of ice -cream.

Hope everyone’s Friday evening is going well xx

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Day 64 – new understandings

We had a nice Easter, the kids had a ball of course, which is the main thing. I had a good bit of work today, so I forced myself to sit down at my laptop every night to get it finished, so I could then relax and enjoy Easter Sunday and Monday.

We had a couple of people from our bubble over for food and that was enjoyable. I was a little jittery because I would usually be polishing off a few glasses but instead I topped myself up with AF and our visitors were none the wiser. I put on makeup that day for the first time since Christmas probably and I noticed how white, the whites of my eyes were – there were no longer bloodshot from alcohol. I was pleased with the thought of this.

Monday was lovely too. I suggested to my husband a couple of things we could do with the kids just to break the monotony, and we all enjoyed it. I went to bed happy in the knowledge that the kids enjoyed their weekend.

I’ve started reading ‘Co-dependent no more’, oh my god what a revelation. A little background, neither of my parents were big drinkers, but my Mom’s Dad was an alcoholic, and in what I have read so far, I can see a lot of Mom in it, and her behaviours. And consequently, I can see my siblings and myself in the book also. Our home was was a very repressed environment, no emotions or love shown and everything was vert strict and controlled. My mother is a very cold, manipulative and cruel person, always believing herself to be the victim and over the past few years she had stopped speaking to some of my siblings for varying reasons. In a way, I feel guilty speaking of her like this and I don’t like to point the figure at women/mothers because I feel we are often blame unnecessarily, but it has helped me understand myself a little better. I know that she is a product of a harsh upbringing in a home with alcohol abuse, and its sad that the affect has endured in her, throughout her life. I remember walking on eggshells at home, because if you upset her you could get the silent treatment for days on end. When she was annoyed, she would look at you in the worst way possible and her voice could cut glass. I think I have internalised that a bit because now I get anxious if my husband seems in a mood or if I feel someone is off with me. I am wondering, what did I do? How can I fix it? Are they cross with me? Normally, I would anxiously question my husband about what was bothering him – and if he hadn’t been in a bad mood to begin with, you can be sure that was by the end of conversation. It would usually end up with him walking out of the room, and I would be left feeling worse than before.

Just having read the first few chapters, I feel less defective, as I understand where a lot of my coping mechanisms have come from. I feel kinder towards myself, isn’t that strange (and great)? Above all, I want the buck to stop with me, I don’t want to pass the same onto my kids. Of course, I know its impossible not to pass things onto our kids, we would have to be clean slates with no past in order to do that, but I wish to minimise the damage. I want to give them the best chance at a happy life, without them having to deal with the ghosts of my childhood.

Hope everyone had a nice Easter xxx

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Day 56 – Meds-free

I am completely off my meds for the last 8 days and I found the withdrawal symptoms very challenging. The vertigo was just awful, I had to be in bed quite a lot and it’s only gotten better in the last few days. I am so relieved that I had asked my husband to take a few days off to be with the kids. On top of the dizziness, I was very cranky and irritable, so I tried to be on my own as much as possible. I didn’t experience any nausea thankfully, in fact my appetite increased and was fine with that, I feel its settling now again.

And the EMOTIONS, oh lord, they are coming quick and fast. There was a lot of frustration about feeling hindered by the veritgo, and just feeling generally pissed off really. Some of the emotion just came out of nowhere and I would find I was crying, but not because I was sad, it’s because I was feeling everything tenfold. It felt like a release when I cried. I am trying to remind myself to be ok with the emotions and just sit with them.

When I gave up alcohol the last time, I think the emotions that I had been suppressing for so long, came raging at me, they frightened me and I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t realise that the resurfacing emotions were all part of coming off alcohol. Coupled with stress, I hit a wall.

The meds offered me a reprieve and I will be forever grateful for this. I think they also gave me a safe place to learn a little more about myself and steady myself a little. And who knows, I could well be exploring meds as an option again down the line. I gave them up to see if they were causing my migraines, and I am happy to report I have not had a migraine since I starting reducing my dose weeks ago.

As it stands, my feelings are heightened and I am trying to ride out the wave. Everything’s a little more raw and it’s as if I have to get to know me all over again. My husband’s in the same boat, unfortunately for him, things have changed a lot and he’s trying to keep up. He’s doing a great job at it, and has been very supportive and patient. He always has really. I was telling him I was feeling a little anxious today, and compared it ‘the fear’ that you would get the morning after drinking. Over-analysing what I said in a conversation and questioning my actions, that’s how my anxiety sometimes shows up. I’m not sure if it’s part of the withdrawal or par for the course now.

Thanks to the very supportive people on this forum and sober lit, I have learned so much about what to expect, and the unexpected. I know that I have to ride the wave. It’s a little scary, but I am glad to be over another hurdle and chuffed to still be alcohol-free. Without a doubt, I couldn’t have done it without all the support on this forum.

Huge thanks xxxxxx

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Day 47 – Ugh, Friday

Yes, it’s official, Friday is not my favourite day of the week. And yes, it has probably to do with the association of relaxing and de-stressing with a few glasses of wine. The whole country is imbibing at the moment, social media is littered with pictures of wine and beer. I consoled myself with heineken zero, jellies and a jane austen series. Up in bed now, writing this with my electric blanket on and drinking a green tea.

I took my last anti-depressant today. I will probably feel like crap for a few days or more. I asked my hubbie to take a few days off work so he can be with the kids if I feel nausea etc.

I have started trying to pinpoint the times I get stressed, to figure out why and what could I do to change it. Morning time, getting the kids ready for school is definitely one, so I’ve started to get up half an hour or so before the kids. This gives me time to eat my breakfast in peace and also get their lunchboxes ready so I am not under pressure when they get up. I was definitely less stressed and was not as snappy with them when they dawdled.

Evenings are another time of stress and I am pretty much limited in what I can do to de-stress at that stage, as my husband doesn’t usually get home until 7pm or after. Before, a well-timed glass of wine would accelerate the de-stressing process, well at least for the first glass anyway. A bath wouldn’t be possible, because the kids would be left unattended. Really, all I want at that stage is to be alone for awhile. It sounds so bad, and I feel really guilty saying it, because I know I am one of the lucky ones to have two healthy kids. I adore them and can’t bear to be away from them for too long, but gawd, coming evening time I am just done! I know that probably sounds so ungrateful and selfish, because they are my babies and I am their mother and I feel its wrong for me to want a break away from them. I don’t really know what else to say about that. I don’t want to gloss over it or try to explain it away, so I will just leave it there.

I am trying to recognise my feelings and work through them. I know I need to make changes in my work life balance if I am to succeed in staying off alcohol, and my medication too (though I have no qualms about going on medication again if I need to). I like this saying, ‘If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got’. It makes sense. Every decisions I make, revolves around my kids and I want to make changes that serve us all well. I want to have a happy, balanced and healthy household where everyone gets their needs met. Maybe that’s impossible, but we can give it a go. Because going back isn’t an option.

xxxxx

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Day 40 Stressful Friday

Early Friday evening and I just want to sink into a glass of red, like one would slip into a warm jacuzzi. I had a bit of a stressful week, hubbie and I had a row, which always stresses me out and freelance work is starting to come in again. Which is great! I cling to my work like a drowning person to a life buoy, because it’s a little of my own identity, re-emerging after having my babies. It helps me feel like I am part of the real world and of course the money is helpful.

My struggle with it is just trying to find a balance – between housework, spending time with the kids and self-care. Sitting down to my laptop after 8pm isn’t the best feeling and doesn’t really help with my zen levels. And trying to work all day on Sunday when my husband is off, means I have very little down time to myself. When the kids are in school now, I have to figure out how best to use that time – food shop, freelance work or self-care like a walk, yoga or run? Balance – ha! that’s the holy grail really, isn’t it?

I also just finished trimming my son’s hair, which was very stressful. Neither of us enjoy the experience, but at this stage it is a necessary evil. Normally at this stage, I would be eyeing up a nice bottle of red across my untidy kitchen..

So I plan to have a couple of Heineken Zeros this evening, to try and kid myself that I am chilling with a beer. Wine is my vice but I find the taste of AF Heineken tastes very much like the real thing, whereas AF wine tastes different (well the one I have tasted anyway). I bought a couple of nice beer glasses for the house, because the type and look of a glass adds to the experience for me. The glasses look very Mediterranean, so on sunny evenings in a few months, I think they will make a nice addition to our bbqs. This evening, I will have to settle for a beer on a rainy, cold Friday. I am thankful at least, for AF beverages!

Sorry the long moan xx

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Day 37

I have been feeling pretty good, due in part to the fact that I am no longer getting my migraines. Since I reduced the dose of my anti-depressants ( on this lower dose for a month), my migraines have stopped. I am delighted, because part of the reason for reducing/stopping my medication, was to see if it was the cause of the migraines I experienced every second day.

The relief, of not waking up with a blinding headache and trying to drag myself through the day, is immense. Trying to parent and adult, while it felt as though my skull was being squeezed, was extremely difficult. With two young children, going into a dark room with a cool compress was never an option.

This gives me another reason to stay off alcohol. If I were to go back to it, it would just bring back the low mood and anxiety. I know that I may end up going back on my medication anyway but it’s worth a try. And if I have to, I am happy to try a different anti-depressant if I need to.

The last time I gave up alcohol two years ago, I ended up hitting a wall. I was very stressed and emotional, and I was scared of how miserable and low I felt. I didn’t have suicidal thoughts, but I felt lost, rudderless and I ached inside.

So coming off alcohol this time around, I need to pay attention to my emotional ‘messengers’, telling me what I need. I like the message in the picture above, it makes so much sense. I am so used to numbing my emotions, I now have to learn how to live with them. The double whammy of coming off my medication too worries me a little.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride! 😉

Day 32

So I passed the one month mark, with many cravings for a glass (ha! a bottle) of red wine, and with an eye on my ‘100 days’ goal. I’m lucky that I haven’t had any social occasions to test me, and I haven’t been under pressure from anyone around to ‘have one’. Also my husband was doing ‘dry-february’ with me so that helped. He will probably have a drink at the weekend, but unlike what I would have done in the past, he wouldn’t necessarily make sure there is alcohol in the house for the weekend. Instead, he will saunter up to the fridge Sat evening if he fancies a beer and have a look at what is in there. If there isn’t any beer there he will shrug and normal business will resume, and if there is he will have a few. Sometimes he has been known to have just one beer, or jut one glass of wine – what the hell?! I’ve seen him put down his glass of wine and just forgotten about going back to it. It’s clear who has the issue with alcohol in our house.

I’m going to stock up on AF wine and beer get me through bbq season and any potential social occasions, if lockdown finishes at some stage. On a brighter note, the kids started back to school this week and I have been taking the opportunity to go for a walk everyday in the sunshine. It was bliss, out on my own and feeling the warmth on my face when I look up to the sun. Trying to increase my self-care is also me pre-empting any issues that might arise from reducing/stopping my medication, or trying to at least. I’m not sure how stopping my medication will go, will have to wait and see. I am taking a lower dose now and so far have just experienced some dizziness.

Aside from medication withdrawals I am feeling pretty good, I am upbeat and things are a lot more harmonious in our house. I am better at asking for more help/fairness in our roles, and this calmer approach is proving more successful than me stomping about the house in frustration. Now that the fog has cleared, I can see that I used to drown out my domestic grumblings with wine, only to vent my frustration when I reached the end of my tether. I have begun to value myself more and that has shifted the dynamic in our home.

I’m trying to tread carefully and take one day at a time. I’m focusing on self-care, Spring and planting vegetables seeds with my kids…

I hope everyone is having a good week 🙂

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Day 26

Yesterday was awful. It was my toughest day so far. I woke with a migraine and I knew it was one of those that would last all day. I’ve noticed that my migraines have been increasing again lately since I came off wine. I made this connection in the morning and mulled over it as my day went on.

In thinking it over, I remembered that happened when I gave up wine a couple of years too. Back then I I was trying to figure out if my headaches were related to menopause, ibs or something else. One thing I did figure out quite accidentally, was that drinking a glass of wine, made all the pressure of the migraine disappear and my headache vanished. I though this was extremely odd, but regardless of that, it began my return to drinking mid week. It would be another while before it snowballed into many nights drinking per week.

We were having a mini-celebration in our house yesterday and a couple of family members in our bubble were calling over. I had some baking etc to get ready for it and my migraine raged on, regardless of my to do list. I spoke to my husband about it and he suggested having a glass of wine come evening-time to ease my head. To be fair, he doesn’t wholly realise me issue with alcohol and my inability to moderate, otherwise he wouldnt have suggested it. Anyway, I told him I didn’t want to and really that it is no real solution to my headaches. I was so frustrated, am I to be forever stuck in this cycle of migraine or alcohol trap? I asked him to pick me up some non-alcohol wine to see if that would help, it didn’t.

I was so distressed for the hour before they arrived, wondering if I should have a glass to ease my head. Can I really live like this with constant migraines? Surely the alcohol thing isn’t so bad compare to this pain in my head? Am I going to have this pain every second day? Is this a sick joke? Here I am, going sober for the good of my mental and physical health and I am being sabotaged by migraines? If I have a glass of wine, can I stop there? Tomorrow I will have to start from scratch all over again, and the black hole of despair…Aaagh!

Anyway, a couple of family members arrived and we poured wine for them. My husband wasn’t drinking either as he is supporting me doing dry-February. And for the first hour of them being there, I felt like a zombie! My head was filled with constant chatter, but I felt as though my body was on autopilot as I moved around and forced some smiles. I poured myself a tonic water and lime, and made the excuse of a migraine and eventually I began to relax. When I was speaking to my husband later, I told him that I thought that my headaches were related to constipation (sorry for the tmi!) and that’s probably why wine used to help – it would keep ‘things’ moving along. If this was the reason, then I needed to look at my anti-depressants, and maybe find out if they are at fault, because I have tried everything else. Its worth a try, I thought. Better than throwing away all my hard work and white knuckling over the last month by slugging wine now.

So I looked up the side effects of my medication and yes, headaches and constipation are a couple of the symptoms. It had never occurred to me before, but of course my symptoms were being masked by alcohol so they weren’t an issue all along. Mood-wise, I find the medication good and have found that they really levelled me out but also I can’t put up with the migraines.

I rang my GP this morning and spoke to him and I have decided to reduce, and then stop taking these particular anti-depressants. I will see how I feel and in time if I find I am getting low again I will try a different anti-depressant.

So, 24 hrs later I feel much better than I did yesterday because I had made my decision. I know I will still have my migraines while I wean off my medication (if in fact that is the cause) but at least there’s hope that I might have found the solution to them. I am so relieved that I did not have a glass of wine. I wouldn’t have had the clear head to think of the possible connection to my medication yesterday evening, if I had been drinking wine. So thankful I am not dealing with regret or a hangover today.

Sorry for the long ramble, its probably hard to follow! xx

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Day 23

Over three weeks without a drink and it looks like my kids will be back to school next week – woo hoo! I am so happy for them to have some social interaction with their friends again, it has been a long time coming. The anticipation of having some time to myself and not having to school and parent, is fantastic.

I remember when I was drinking wine, Covid was an excuse to drink but the thought of the pandemic being over also made me anxious. It was as if, we have been dealing with it for so long now, what do we do when its gone? The thoughts of going back out into the world and resuming normal activity was unnerving – why is that? I’m not an agoraphobe, but its as if I wanted to stay in a cocoon. Without wine, I feel much braver and ready to take on the next step. I feel calm and I am ready to help the kids through any uncertainty they might have in going back (they don’t, they are thrilled so far).

I have some freelancing work on this week so that is something else for me to focus on. Usually I would use a glass of wine as an incentive/reward when I am working late at night after the kids have gone to bed. That’s probably the only time I wouldn’t be having a whole bottle, I would actually have a limit when working! So, I will obviously be white-knuckling through it this week instead.

Without wine I am less hyper about my me-time in the evening, this meant me having a glass of wine and my husband doing bedtime. Now I have much more time for story-time and I feel far more patient. There is less tension and less arguments with my husband in the evening. Wine definitely gave me a short fuse.

Hugs are my greatest joy, and I just want to breathe in my kids and keep them this innocent forever.

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Day 20

I have been looking at various books of non-drinkers who detail their last few drinking bouts and I am left thinking, ‘I wasn’t like that’. Not in a judgemental way, but my mind has started asking ‘do I really need to give up alcohol?’ I know my mind is playing tricks with me so I just need to remind myself of why I gave it up.

Funnily enough, it was my weight. Yes, the black hole of despair the morning after was also a major factor, but the weight thing bothered me because I rarely put on weight. Aside from when I was pregnant of course and that did not bother me in the least, it was a role I cherished. The reason putting on weight bothers me so much is probably because I suffered from an eating disorder when I was in my late 20s. Luckily, I sought help before it became entrenched in me and my relationship with food went from strength to strength. I love food now, cooking new dinners, trying new things and passing this love onto my kids. I don’t count calories in 20 years, nor do I eat low-fat products. I like to think I am done with restricting my food intake. I’m lucky that I enjoy keeping fit and I find that exercise relieves my anxiety a little. So I was surprised to find my clothes getting tight in the last 6 months and I know my wine intake would have increased in the last 9 months or so. Also, I think early menopause (post-hysterectomy) may have something to do with it. But it could my anti-depressants too, and I don’t want to go off those just yet. Anyway, despite increasing my running and workouts, my weight has stayed the same.

I have been slim for 20 years, not overly skinny, and not from watching everything I eat. I like desserts but tend to cook healthily as I have IBS, so I think that helped maintain my weight. Anyway, this has been a longwinded way of saying, that one of the reasons I am giving up alcohol is because I want to lose weight. I like being slim and fitting into my clothes, and if I am being completely honest it has been part of my identity for a long time. However, I have no interest in giving up nice food. I have no interest in going back to restricting calories and daily weigh-ins, that would make me so miserable and would probably be a slippery slope. So instead, I am giving up alcohol, which is not benefitting me in any way. It also leaves me anxious, depressed, cranky and hating myself.

I’m trying to remind myself also that I am doing it for my kids. If I continued on the path that I was on, or if I fall now, where will I be in 5 years time? What state would I be in mentally? And how would their little minds be while coping with me and my actions? I Just have to keep telling myself that I can’t do moderation, I have an issue with control when it comes to alcohol and that’s not the way it is for everyone. Even the memory of the black hole of despair is fading a little, its only been 3 weeks, how am I going to motivate myself to keep going down the line, if that feeling isn’t haunting me??

So I am going to commit to do 100 days of sobriety – I respond well I can motivate myself towards a goal. 80 days to go!

Thanks for reading through my rambling thoughts…xx

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